How to Pick the Right Welding Vocational School near Moores Mill Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder trade school near Moores Mill AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Moores Mill AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Moores Mill AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder tech school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Technical Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Moores Mill AL area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Moores Mill AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Moores Mill AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Moores Mill AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Moores Mill AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Moores Mill AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Moores Mill AL, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Moores Mill Welding School for Certification
Selecting the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any welding training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Moores Mill AL.